Thursday, October 07, 2010

RESEARCH NEWS: A CWD Vaccine On the Horizon?

Chronic wasting disease has cast a pall over the Wisconsin deer herd and the state's deer hunting tradition since it was discovered in 2001.

One could argue the only good CWD-related news in the last decade is the nightmare scenario has not played out - the disease has not jumped the species barrier to affect humans or livestock.

Wisconsin wildlife managers have taken aggressive measures to initially try to eradicate the disease and more recently to reduce its spread. The disease is now found in a 9,000-square-mile area of south-central Wisconsin.

The primary tools have been deer reduction efforts (hunting or sharpshooting) and transport prohibitions on deer and elk.

Canadian researchers are testing a CWD vaccine they hope will add another tool to the tool box.

A Canadian team has made some promising advances, and a vaccine might be commercially available in 2 years, assuming they can raise the funding needed for development. The logistics of administering the vaccine to wild deer might prove insurmountable. However, it holds a lot of promise for captive and farmed deer.

Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

PENNSYLVANIA NEWS: Valley Forge Moves Forward with Deer Cull Plans

Officials at Valley Forge National Historical Park say deer will be shot there starting next month, ending a yearlong delay and commencing a controversial plan to dramatically thin the herd.

An animal rights group is contemplating protests and legal action.

The 5.3 square mile Park's deer reduction goal is quite large; the four year plan calls for reducing deer numbers from 1277 to 165-185.

Park Superintendent Michael Caldwell said Monday that the deer-driven degradation at the park made it imperative to proceed.

"We believe the best course is to go forward at this point," he said. "We'll await the legal process as it unfolds."

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

USA NEWS: State Farm Annual Deer-Vehicle Collisions Report

While the number of miles driven by U.S. motorists over the past five years has increased just 2 percent, the number of deer-vehicle collisions in this country during that time has grown by ten times that amount.

Using its claims data, State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer estimates 2.3 million collisions between deer and vehicles occurred in the U.S. during the two-year period between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2010. That’s 21.1 percent more than five years earlier. To put it another way, during your reading of this paragraph, a collision between a deer and vehicle will likely have taken place (they are much more likely during the last three months of the year and in the early evening).

Likelihood of Deer-Vehicle Collisions

For the fourth year in a row, West Virginia tops the list of those states where a driver is most likely to collide with a deer. Using its claims data in conjunction with state licensed driver counts from the Federal Highway Administration, State Farm calculates the chances of a West Virginia driver striking a deer over the next 12 months at 1 in 42.

Iowa is second on the list. The likelihood of a licensed driver in Iowa striking a deer within the next year is 1 in 67. Michigan (1 in 70) is third. Fourth and fifth on the list are South Dakota (1 in 76) and Montana (1 in 82).

Pennsylvania is sixth, followed by North Dakota and Wisconsin. Arkansas and Minnesota round out the top 10.

The average property damage cost of these incidents was $3,103, up 1.7 percent from a year ago.

Source: State Farm